June 27, 2009

Prepped Longerons; Modified Arm Rests - 10.0 hrs.

Today was a great day. It's the first time in a long time that I've had a good long work session. I took advantage of the excellent weather and started the scuffing, cleaning, and priming of the Longerons. I wanted to do this outdoors because there is limited room in my shop for these long pieces, and the cleaning and priming is best done outdoors for obvious reasons.

This isn't the best picture, but it's hard to take a good shot of these because they're so long. I put in about an hour scuffing each one with scotchbrite and cleaning them with naphtha. I wiped them down again with a clean rag and naptha, then carefully measured to mark where the aft fuselage ends and the center section begins. I primed the aft portion of each one with the SEM primer I've been using throughout the project. The forward part will be primed and painted with the interior paint I will be using, along with all the rest of the interior parts. I'm still agonizing over what product and color to use for the interior. I want something with a matt or semi-flat finish that's very durable, and I plan on painting all the interior parts before riveting them together. I can touch up any riveting damage easily when it's all finished.

Next, I have been reading about a modification to the arm rests that a lot of builders are using. It's a stiffener that is riveted to the underneath side of each arm rest. From what I've been reading, the arm rest can be easily bent or damaged by persons who aren't familiar with the aircraft getting in and out of the cabin. All it took to convince me that this is a good idea was to climb inside Van's factory demo RV-7A and look at the armrests. The damage is apparent at a glance. So I cut two lengths of .063 x 3/4 x 3/4 aluminum angle, clamped, measured and drilled them to the arm rests, and then did the usual deburring, dimpling, countersinking, scuffing, cleaning, and priming. One side of the angle had to be trimmed down to about 3/8" so it wouldn't show below the arm rest flange. My bandsaw took care of this task easily.

Here are the parts, all primed and ready for riveting. I primed the stiffeners completely, but only the undersides of the armrests. The undersides won't show from inside the cabin. I plan on priming and painting the top sides of the armrests when I paint all the interior parts.

Here they are, all riveted together, showing the primed bottom of the right armrest and the unprimed top of the left one. The rivets ended up being about 7/8" apart.

When they were finished, I decided to cleco them to the center section, just to see how they fit and how they look. I also clecoed the F-715 outer seat ribs in place, as you can see just below the arm rest.

Having them both clecoed in place really stiffens and solidifies the center section. I like the way it looks, too. I don't see why I shouldn't leave them in place for the rejoining to the aft fuse, hopefully VERY SOON!

Next, I clecoed the F-706 bulkhead assembly back in place in the aft fuse. Hopefully, for the last time. This wrapped up a nice day. I feel like I got a lot accomplished, albeit somewhat slower than I would like. I'm really anxious to get on with putting this back together and pounding a lot of rivets!

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